By Kendra Lee, OhioState Athletics Communications

The setter on a volleyball team: a position of leadership.

A volleyball setter has a variety of roles for the team. He controls ball movement, is an active communicator and is the one who creates play-making opportunities for his teammates. For OhioState, Steven Kehoe is that person.


The redshirt sophomore is in his first season as starting setter for the Buckeyes. Playing time was hard to come by for Kehoe before this year, but it was all well worth the wait.


“Standing on the sideline the last two years was tough for me,” Kehoe said. “However, I learned a lot by observing the guys on the court, watching film and coming in to practice and doing extra footwork. Even though it was hard, it definitely benefited me in the long run.”


Kehoe, who is the team’s captain, knows that he brings a contrasting type of leadership to the floor this season. The team, who was led by four-year starting setter Dan Mathews, has responded well to Kehoe’s presence on the court.


“Having a different leader on the court for the first time was a definite change for my teammates at the beginning of the season,” Kehoe said. “I think me being the setter on the practice court helped the transition this year.


“I think I’ve earned the respect of my teammates and that makes it easier for them to trust me on the court and for me to make the right calls,” Kehoe added. “It hasn’t been too hard of a transition for me to take on my leadership role.”  


Kehoe’s leadership qualities have been developing since he was young. His volleyball knowledge and love for the sport stem from his parents, Steven and Amy Kehoe. Both played collegiate volleyball and his father was his coach for his Cincinnati Attack club team.


Kehoe also garnered many accolades as setter for St.XavierHigh School, including “Mr. Volleyball 2006” and regional player of the year.


“Throughout the years, at both the club and high school level, I’ve always had to take leadership roles and learned a lot through that,” Kehoe said. “I had great coaching throughout my career and I appreciate everything they have all done for me to help me to be the best leader I can be.”


The years spent playing volleyball has helped him develop the qualities needed to be a successful leader on the court this season for the Buckeyes.


“Being captain, I’ve taken all I have learned in the past and put it to practice now,” Kehoe said. “I try to organize things and help out my players on the floor. Instead of doing everything myself, I try to make the players around me a lot better.”


With the team in the final leg of the regular season, including three-consecutive weekends on the road, Kehoe’s guidance on the court is a necessity for the team to finish strong. He understands what his job is and how to handle his team.


“The biggest role I play on the team is to adjust to people and communicating effectively,” Kehoe said. “Some guys can play better when they’re getting yelled at and some need to be coached through things. Knowing each individual player’s strengths and weaknesses really gets the best out of them on the court.”